With the loving Thulian family reunited and war fast approaching earth, all of the main characters of "Glory" take a couple of pages of downtime this issue. Joe Keatinge, Ross Campbell and a series of artistic friends take a breath to show what the main characters do in the time leading up to what most of them assume will be their deaths. There's quiet contemplation, friendly outreach, mysterious planning and lots of wine. It's a very human issue of a very human book, despite the largely alien cast.
That's the trick of "Glory," overall. It's a book about one messed-up family from another world. Glory and her sister, Nanaja, have a strained relationship, to say the least. Their relations with their parents are likewise unglued. Any meeting of the family begins or ends with a limb getting torn off and two weeks of recuperation to wait for it to grow back. In the face of a larger looming threat, though, they've reached a temporary detante. Sure, they want to kill each other (literally), but they're willing to put that aside until the planet can be saved from some monsters that previously destroyed their own homeworld.
That's why this issue works. It's not so much about the plot as it is the characters. Glory is on the dock, drinking a lot of wine and making quiet plans for war. Riley, who hasn't been home or talked to any of her friends in the months since this adventure begins, does a video chat with an old friend of hers to let him know she's OK. Owen Gieni's art is expressive and detailed. Riley's friend's bedroom is a mess and you see every nook and cranny of it. Gloria West meets a faceless man, who gives her something that might wind up saving the day, or ending a life. And Glory's parents ask themselves that most parental of questions, "Did we do right by our children?" ("We're a couple of truly awful parents, aren't we?" says Dad.)
In the quirkiest and cutest two page sequence of them all, Emi Meets Henry and Beleszava. Yes, Emi Lenox, from the two autobiographical "Emitown" books Image has published in the last year or so. It's also the one case where the art style is part of the story. While other artists handle two pages at a time devoted to the other characters, it's more of a fill-in artist coming in to give the main artist a bit of a breather. Emi's two pager is a diversion from the norm, much in the same way a faux French comic was a couple of issues ago.
The other standout sequence involves Nanaja with her new baby sister. She takes care of her by going hunting and being surprised at what the baby is capable of. Nanaja ignited every page she's on with boundless energy and an immature foul mouth. Juxtaposed with the infant, it's hilarious. The art from Jed Dougherty fits in neatly with Ross Campbell's style and leads us to Glory's parents in a scene drawn by Greg Hinkle, who's art is almost indistinguishable from Campbell's.
"Glory" #32 might not be the most exciting issue of the run so far, but Keatinge's script and his variety of artists give us a book that feels right. The characters are the stars and they act in ways we've come to expect. This issue is a charming one, and a welcomed relief between issues of brutally violent fights and wars of words.